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Sunday, 3 November 2013

The church must fight corruption


The church must fight corruption

By WILFRED JIBRIL
The essence of ministry, as I have emphasized severally in my previous articles, is to rescue the perishing souls and to prepare them for the coming of their Maker, the Lord Jesus Christ. But in Nigeria, ministry has been given a new name. Preaching for the genuine salvation of souls has now taken the back seat while prosperity has become the main focus of most ministers. It is unfortunate that the church, as we have today, is the antithesis of what the Lord Jesus Christ envisioned which is a Church bereft of spots and wrinkles.  The love of money has so much destroyed the body of Christ that heaven is no longer the focus of most believers. It is ludicrous and preposterous to read about ministers who claim they have the anointing to make people millionaires.
The question I have for such ministers is, who bestowed such anointing on them? And where is it written in the Bible that we are called as ministers to make people millionaires? The Holy Book does not tell us that the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, made some people millionaires. His primary mission on earth, according to the scriptures, was to reach out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel so that they could inherit the kingdom of God after their earthly sojourn.  Ephesians 4: 11-13 dwell on the primary purpose for which gifts are given to ministers of God: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. Maybe their Bible is different from mine.
Consequent upon the misdemeanour of these ministers, most church members have been misled into believing that there is nothing wrong in acquiring wealth by hook or by crook as long as they pay tithe on such money. This, undoubtedly, explains why everybody now wants to do anything to acquire money.
In their foolishness, they opine that paying tithe on stolen money legitimizes it. In I Timothy 6: 9-12, the Bible says: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”.
If this category of Christians reads the Bible, the above verses must have been erased from their copies of the Holy Book or the page containing them has been torn off.
How else does one explain a situation whereby a Christian, who reads the aforementioned verses, still defrauds an organisation and rushes to church to pay tithe? Trust these greedy ministers. They will not query the source of the money. They will accept the tithe and extol the giver to high heavens. Sometimes, those who pay such fat tithe, get special seats in the church.  A Christian paying tithe on stolen money!
What an abomination and disgrace to the body of Christ! The ministers are culpable in that they are indirectly encouraging these light-fingered members to steal. To clip the wings of these thieving members, the ministers should start questioning the source of such money now. For instance, if a church member, who earns N2 million per annum, pays a tithe of about N50,000 from his/her monthly salary, he or she  should be queried. Another way to nip this scandalous development in the bud is for ministers to stop asking members to sow what they call seed of faith. Christians should be allowed to give willingly and cheerfully.
Furthermore, I will suggest that ministers of God should form the habit of preaching messages of judgement against believers who have unbridled desire to acquire ill-gotten wealth. If every church is doing this at every service, there will be no hiding place for these thieving ‘christians’. That way the church of Christ would have been purged of these kleptomaniacs. It is wrong for ministers to cajole members to give money or sow seed, as they say. If members of their congregation are born again, they don’t need to be cajoled before they give for the work of the Lord. The Spirit of God will always lead them to do so. In fact, giving is not compulsory. It is done according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and it must be done willingly and cheerfully. It is this type of giving that brings blessings to the giver.
The recent case of a convicted Army officer who allegedly defrauded a state government to the tune of N150 million and allegedly paid a tithe of N11 million in two installments to a church is an embarrassment to the body of Christ. This is not the first time we are being regaled with a story of a monumental scandal involving a Church. In 2003 or thereabouts, a self-styled Christian bought a massive generator and donated to another church from the money he allegedly pilfered from his employer.
These churches are guilty as charged because they cannot claim not to know the source of their sudden wealth. Imagine a salary earner paying a tithe of N11 million. The church did not query the source of his sudden wealth; neither could any of the ministers in the church discern the source.  Don’t they have the spirit of discernment?  Do they operate in the flesh? That is one of the reasons we ministers of God must operate in the spirit.
Since the church is not a business venture, ministers should start querying members who pay questionable tithes. My take on this issue is that churches, whose preoccupation is prosperity, have the proclivity to fail into such temptation. The Lord expects these erring ministers to turn a new leaf by de-emphasising prosperity in their messages. Prosperity is not a message ministers of God should dissipate their time preaching. In fact, the beginning of prosperity is Matthew 6:33 which says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. The meaning of this verse of the scripture is simple. Give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ and live a righteous life and you will prosper.
•Wilfred Jibril (wilfredjibril@yahoo.com; 08037831431)
TheSun

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